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Paramount Pictures Corporation
CREATED BY INCREDIBLE INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC TEAM
In the beginning there was "Star Wars," and the dazzling visual effects created by the newly-formed team at Industrial Light & Magic would change forever the face of filmmaking. With its stunning technical daring and breathtaking galactic visions, the film took the art of special effects a giant step--or light years, if you will--forward.
Drawing upon the individual skills and revolutionary ideas of a meticulously hand-picked technical team, Industrial Light & Magic quickly established itself as the world's best special effects unit, a reputation solidly reinforced since then and reaching new heights with its current work for Paramount Pictures' new science fantasy "Explorers."
Directed by Joe Dante from an original screenplay by Eric Luke, "Explorers" is the story of three young boys who share a common dream and make an amazing discovery which propels them on a fantastic adventure.
Dante, who chose to make "Explorers" as his first feature since the runaway success of "Gremlins" ($200 million grossed to date at the worldwide box office), felt his challenge was "to try to keep from making (the film) like every other space movie."
With script in hand, Dante went directly to the team at Marin County's Industrial Light & Magic company to get their input on how best to visualize on screen this fantastic space adventure which didn't "count on a lot of hardware" for its impact.
"Joe Dante was very open to suggestions and in collaborating with us in the visual effects," states Bruce Nicholson, who is the supervisor of operations at Light & Magic and who works with a crew of from 16 to 100 technicians at the company. "Other directors are not so open to suggestions; they come to us with their ideas firmly set. With Joe, he allowed us to visualize what we wanted and what was in the script. He remained ready and willing to change the script if we needed changes. It gave us special challenges."
Nicholson, like others at ILM, has had a lifelong interest in the special effects process, a slow, complex and often tedious procedure for a single spectacular moment on screen. His interest in the industry was sparked by his father, a successful animator with his own company. He took classes at UC at Berkeley and at UCLA, then worked for two years in the special effects department at a film lab.
"I was fascinated by all the different artistic channels that went into a composite effect," Nicholson recalls. "I knew I wanted to bring my energies to creating those effects."
"But explorers never know what they'll find.... that's why they go!"